Cooper should continue to be factor

Posted by Vic Carucci on November 2, 2012 – 9:50 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Zasquatch – Will Josh Cooper be used this week? He seems a stable route-runner with sure hands. He’s good with Brandon Weeden.

I would expect Cooper to continue to be a factor in the Browns’ passing game, Zasquatch, for the reasons you mentioned, although he is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Baltimore with a thigh injury.

Given that Cooper caught passes for Weeden at Oklahoma State, it should come as no surprise that they have instant chemistry as Browns teammates.

But Cooper’s impact goes beyond the familiarity that he and his former college quarterback have for each other. It also has plenty to do with how quickly Cooper has been able to grasp some of the finer points of playing receiver in the NFL. He mostly has crossed the largest hurdle facing all rookie receivers: Getting off the line of scrimmage against press coverage. Every defensive back in the league will pose that challenge to a first-year receiver, beginning in training camp. And Cooper has consistently managed to not only shake free, but show a veteran-like precision in running his routes.

Sean – Can’t wait to see Phil Taylor. He should help our run defense.

He should, Sean.

Just his physical presence is likely to make a difference because the Browns don’t have another defensive tackle who matches his size and strength. He will occupy more space and blockers, and that should help do plenty to allow the other defensive linemen and linebackers to make stops against the run. Taylor, himself, should also be involved in some tackles.

The key will be seeing how much stamina he will be able to have after missing all of training camp, the preseason, and the first eight games of the regular season with the torn pectoral he suffered during the offseason.

Taylor has practiced well enough the past two weeks to convince the coaches that he is ready to play, but I suspect he will be involved in the frequent rotation of defensive linemen that defensive coordinator Dick Jauron likes to do.

Benjamin – Let’s be honest here: Cleveland isn’t terrible; we are just YOUNG. We’re two catches away from being 4-4. L.J. Fort intercepts Michael Vick, and we win in Week 1. Josh Gordon catches a TD pass against Indy, and we win in Week 7. I believe Cleveland has a legitimate shot at winning this game!

I do, too, Benjamin.

However, as sound as your logic might be in making the case for 4-4, the reality is that the Browns are 2-6. And they have that record because they have made enough mistakes (beyond the drops you referenced) to lose six games. At one point or another, they’ve fallen short in every phase on the way to a disappointing start to the season.

The Browns can’t forget that. They can’t forget what they did wrong to short-circuit an otherwise strong, prime-time effort and end up with a 23-16 loss at Baltimore on Dec. 27. And they need to play as close to a perfect game as possible to beat the Ravens because the Ravens will be thoroughly focused on another season sweep of the Browns.

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